Most of the names popular in Ireland today — names like Jack, Sarah, Adam and Emma — are easy to pronounce. But others can be tricky for non-Irish-speakers to decipher. So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here’s how to pronounce popular Irish names like Aoife, Cian, Niamh and Cillian.
Irish Girl Names:
- Aoife is pronounced EE-fa.
- Caoimhe is pronounced KEE-va or KWEE-va.*
- Ciara is pronounced KEE-ar-a or KEE-ra.*
- Maeve is pronounced MAYV.
- Niamh is pronounced NEE-av or NEEV.
- Saoirse is pronounced SEER-sha or SAIR-sha.
- Sinead (Sinéad) is pronounced shi-NAYD.
Irish Boy Names:
- Cian is pronounced KEE-an or KEEN.*
- Cillian is pronounced KIL-ee-an.*
- Daithi (Dáithí) is pronounced DAH-hee.
- Eoin is pronounced O-in.
- Oisin (Oisín) is pronounced UH-sheen or O-sheen.
- Seamus (Séamus) is pronounced SHAY-mus.
- Sean (Seán) is pronounced SHAWN.
*Remember, all C’s are hard in Irish.
Keep in mind that these pronunciations may not cover all dialects of Irish.
What other Irish names do you have a hard time pronouncing?